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Old 04-04-2011, 07:43 PM   #15
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Barton Shifter and CAGS Bypass

My next mod is to improve the shifting of my manual SS.

This comes in two parts. First eliminate the mechanism that forces you into 4th gear at certain speeds. That mechanism is called CAGS. You can buy a CAGS bypass from many sources and they are very inexpensive. I bought the one from SLP and it ties both ends together the best with no wires hanging off.

This installs from under the car on the drivers side in the middle of the transmission. This is tight squeeze.

The first time I installed it I plugged it into the wrong place (doh!) on the passenger side. I was rewarded with a CEL which pointed out my stupdiity.

To diagnose that CEL I bought a code reader/editor from Amazon. The code told me what was wrong and I turned off the code and then reinstalled the CAGS bypass.

Now it is great! The shift pattern light comes comes on but I can pick any gear I want.

Next I wanted to improve the actual shifting. I looked at all the shifters and the install of each. I picked the Barton Shifter. The shifter works as well or better than most of the others at a very low price with exceptional customer service.

The install is a bit of a pain. You have to go under the car (why?) and lowering the transmission is helpful. This also makes the CAGS bypass easier.

I bought the shifter with the steel SS ball and also the stick that lets you install the stock shift knob. I installed the SS knob at first:



I don't have a pic, I borrowed the one above. This is the only pic I have which is really my bass knob pic



This setup is beautiful, but not very practical. The metal knob is freezing in the winter and it rattles to high RPM. There are fixes.

So I went back to the stock knob:



Much quieter, and warmer. But the big knob is noticeably harder to shift.

Also I went back to the stock knob because I have the 2nd gear synchro crunch problem. So when I take it back to the dealer I don't want it to look like i modded the shifter. This has been used in the past to deny warranty claims. :(

Long term I will go back to the pretty SS knob and fix the rattle or i may use the other Barton knob i have which is a composite black 6 speed pattern in the winter and the SS knob in the summer.

It is cool to have choices. Thanks to Barton. Just like ********, you cannot got wrong with Barton!
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Old 04-04-2011, 07:47 PM   #16
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My Audio Build Phase 2

After I bought my 5th Gen i picked up ********'s X3 harness, sub box, and amp board to go with some equipment I had laying around.

Thread is here:
http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=108312

At the time Steve told me he was working on another harness to replace the BA amp. And he delivered. I picked up his BA amp harness kit to take my build one step further. I would keep the factory head Unit for now and upgrade my primary amp.

I had a new Discus 4 channel DSC480 in the box lying around. So I decided to use that. But one problem. It is huge. It would never fit in the factory amp location. So i could use ********'s harness, but I would need to find a mounting spot for this big amp.

After crawling around in my trunk with the amp I found out I had just enough room to mount the amp on the end of my drivers side 10-12 inch sub box. The amp was too large to just screw on so I built a little platform for it:







I then ripped the trunk apart and worked though all the wiring. This took a while, but that was the easy part. I tested the new amp and all was well. Then I mounted the new amp on the sub box and quickly realized this monster was almost too big to fit into the trunk. After several aborted tries I finally got it into the trunk, but only after scratching the amp a little.

Then I pulled all the new wiring around and hooked up the amp. Then I tried to get it into position. It turned out my new amp board was a little too long to fit easily. It is a bit difficult to get the big sub box into position. With my extension it was almost impossible. After a number of tries and repositioning I finally shoved it into place. Phew.

At least it works!





While I had everything apart I decided to anchor the amp board. I want to try autocross and I think the G forces would start the amp board flopping around. That strap is anchored under the PIA plastic cap on the post you see in the pic. Not pretty but solid.



I fiddled around with my head unit tone and the settings on the amp to see how everything fit together. Okay, now on to my review of the upgrade. First eliminating the center channel did improve the sound a little. And the highs and mid range are a bit cleaner at any volume. But the difference is not night and day.

To take full advantage of the amp I think I need to upgrade the speakers. One other thing, the new amp really improved the stock system's bass (as Steve said it would). So much so now my 10 inch high end Kicker hits only slightly harder than the stock (jumpered) 6x9s. Probably I can bump the gain on the sub amp, but really there is no need. Therse is more than enough bass for the music I listen to. Usually I run my bass knob at 1/2 volume.

The end result here does sound really good. But my chimes are a little loud.

I did learn something. I think I can buy a 5 channel mini class D amp like the Alpine PDX-5 and get the same sounding results. Perhaps I can fit it into the stock location. So if I go this way I can return my sub box to its original size and save about 30+ pounds with getting rid of the two big amps and the amp board.

For those of you who do not have ********'s 10-12 inch sub box already buy this:

http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=130641

The Infinity is a great amp for the $$ and this setup will sound great and save you a lot of trouble. If I was starting over this would be my choice.
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Old 04-26-2011, 07:13 AM   #17
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Getting excited about the upcoming Z28. Especially in light of the success of the Boss 302. Ford really upped the ante in the Muscle Track Car race.

*************

My Dream Z28.

Keep it real. Keep it simple. No gingerbread on the car. Start with a 1SS. Keep it light. Keep it affordable. Build as many as we want.

* LS3 with 25-45 HP bump (Head, intake, and cam package)
* Manual six speed only
* Tighter Transmission gear ratios (only 1 O/D gear needed)
* At least a 3.73 rear ratio
* Better shifter
* Stronger clutch
* Stronger axles
* FE4 Suspension + a few improvements if possible
* ZL1 front brakes
* Less flexible brakes lines
* No rubber bushings
* No wheel hop
* Neutral handing
* Lighter Wheels (18 inch)
* Sticky tires
* Lower car 1 inch
* Lighter mufflers, battery, and a few other select parts (get creative)
* Keep the soundproofing (I do not want to drive in a tin can)
* Bluetooth + ipod
* Real cloth sport seats (Z28 motif perhaps)
* Z28 interior dash emblem
* Z28 Sill plates
* Z28 on the front of each fender (no other exterior emblems)
* Smaller front and rear color coordinated Chevy bow-ties
* No mail slot
* More effective front and rear spoilers
* No useless side cladding
* Improve underbelly air flow where possible
* Functional brake cooling scoops
* Distinctive Z28 exterior stripes/graphics (Can be wild or tribute)
* Offer true Sunoco blue as a color (Also, red, black, white, and silver)
* Option #1: Rear seat delete with roll bar/brace replacement
* Option #2: Delete graphics
* Option #3: Racetrack delivery (see below)

That is it, just 3 options. No automatic, sunroof, or upgraded stereo. If a Z28 owner wants more bling they are perfectly capable of adding it themselves.

Optionally Allow owners to take delivery at a race track. Include a morning of a driving class with some individual track time with a professional driver.

Chevy can sell all Z28 parts to existing SS owners who want to build their own Z28 to help mitigate the cost of building the Z28.
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Old 05-03-2011, 09:30 AM   #18
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My family often asks me why I drive only manuals. Easy choice.

I learned long ago the manual is for me. 98% of the time shifting for myself adds to the fun of a drive but:

* 1% of the time in a long slow moving traffic jam

* and the other 1% of the time on steep hill with a jerk 6 inches behind my back bumper

* I wish I had an Auto-On switch.

Other thoughts:

* Manuals are cheaper to fix but are more likely to break
* Clutches eventually do wear out
* Running at the drags will help you buy a new stronger clutch sooner
* Launching manuals hard can break driveshafts and axles
* Manuals cars are a little lighter
* Manuals are cheaper
* Manuals get slightly better gas milage
* With a manual you will most likely buy a better shifter and cool shifter knob
* Autos are more consistent and usually faster at the drags
* Manuals are better for road racing (much!)
* Manuals are good exercise for your left leg
* With a manual in a Camaro SS you get 25 more HP!
* With a manual a higher percentage of those HPs make it to the rear wheels
* With a manual in a Camaro you can avoid cylinder de-activation
* With a manual in a Camaro you have less tune envy (easier to keep your warranty)
* With a manual you get more respect (Everyone asks, "Is that a six speed?")
* With a manual in a Camaro using the cup holders is a PIA
* With a manual you can blip the throttle at a stop light and between gears
* A manual Camaro is easier to sell
* An Auto Camaro will depreciate a little faster

If you enjoy driving a manual and you are buying a Camaro (V6 or V8), picking the 6 speed will add to the fun. Even for a daily driver.
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:01 PM   #19
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Phase 3 sound system build

My Phase 2 setup did not sit right with me. I had a problem with losing the front channels off and on. I was not sure if it was the amp overheating or a loose connections.

To figure it out, it had to come apart. But if I was going to take everything apart I figured I might as well try the Infinity 4 + 1 Amp and dump my dual amp setup.

So I picked up one of these cute little amps and set about redoing my build.

After every thing was back apart I found what I was looking for, two loose connections! Now I can see why the two front channels drifted in and out.

The Infinity amp was much smaller and lighter than either Discus Amp. While I was at it, I trimmed the amp platform I built to make it easier to install the sub box.

I set everything in place and tested the amp. It sounded great! Better than with the separate amps. It sounded so good I ripped out the separate sub knob I installed under the dash. My Kicker 10 inch sub did not hit quite as hard but the sound was much improved. The front and rear speaker also kicked up the sound a notch with the new amp.

I put everything back together and was able to rid my SS of more than 25 pounds! (Pounds that I added.) The perfect thing for my track day coming up.

I did not touch the settings so my blinkers will wake the dead and the gain is up a bit too high with background white noise. I will get to that maybe tomorrow.





Anyone need a side amp board and two Discus Amps?
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:32 PM   #20
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looks good. I have the same sub hooked to a memphis 500
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Old 08-02-2011, 07:22 PM   #21
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Edit: So many typos!

A month or so ago I upgraded my SS suspension with BMR Parts:
  • Pro Cradle Bushings
  • Pro Differential Bushings
  • End Link Mounting Braces
  • Adjustable sway Bars
  • Sway Bar End Links
  • Toe Rods
  • Trailing Arms
  • Driveshaft Safety Loop




I wanted to wait and drive with the mods before I reviewed the changes and attend a Track Day to really understand the difference in the car. I also took a 1,000 mile trip in my SS to Niagara Falls. This car is my daily driver, but since I work from home I am putting on under 10.000 miles per year.

Race Proven Motorsports in Delaware installed the BMR parts. They took their time and I am happy with their work.

I chose not to lower my car. Besides scraping more often lowering springs also hurt you at the drag strip (edit: I have since learned a 1 inch drop has no or a very small effect). If later I get more serious I will spring for coil overs (sorry).

I kept my alignment specs stock. Street qualities are more important to me than track qualities

My goals:
  • Less understeer
  • Eliminate Wheel Hop
  • Eliminate rear step-out due to rubber bushing play
  • Feel more in control
  • Improved performance at the track
I was also hoping for a lighter feeling agile car. But I did not think these changes would help on that front. I was right.

I knew I would make some sacrifices. I found:
  • Slightly stiffer and more harsh ride. But long trips are still comfortable.
  • Noticeable drivetrain whine, especially in sixth gear. High pitched but not loud, I am already used to this.
Other than that, the handling feel of the car is notably improved. Cornering is much more stable and my SS now handles on a par with my departed 335i. Although the 335 had better steering feel and felt more agile, the cars are not that far apart.

Improvements:
  • Understeer: Big improvement but there is still some left. My Sways are still on the middle setting, my alignment specs are stock, and I am still running staggered stock tires. As I am no track superstar I think some understeer is a good thing for me right now.
  • Eliminate Wheel Hop: I have not been to the strip yet. But I tried a few hard launches and did not feel the dreaded hop. I did launch hard in the rain and the hop was still there.
  • Rear Step Out: Cured!
  • Feel more in control: Yes.
  • Improved Track Performance: While I have no before and after my SS feels at home on the track.
I attended a Track Day at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, NJ on the ThunderBolt track. ThunderBolt they tell me, is a very technical track, but not all that fast. Sounded perfect for me to learn on.

Early in the morning there was a general driver meeting followed by a raffle. I won a set of Race Ramps!


Myra, my instructor has been racing for nine years, and currently races a Miata. She makes a living as an instructor. Getting ready for my first run I discover a flaw in the trakability of the 5th Gen Camaro. If you have a sunroof and you are six foot or more your helmet hits the roof. Track Camaro = no sunroof. After a while I got used to driving with my head tilted sideways.

Myra took the first few laps at the wheel explaining track day etiquette, flag meanings, and the racing lines of the track. She at first was put off by the size of the Camaro. But than as she became more comfortable she started smiling and going faster. Before too long we were running up the butt of a yellow C6 Corvette. She said, "Don't try this at home." I held on for dear life. afterwards she said "Big power, great brakes, no fade. This thing, although huge, can get around the track."

My turn. I was much slower. So slow in fact I had a train behind me for a few laps. After my first session I improved and created no more trains. With help from Myra I was able to master several of the turns. Turn 2 was fun. It is an uphill right hand sweeper. She convinced me to stay off the brakes and slowly dial in more power through the turn, "Trust the car." She said over end over. By the end I listened to her and it became my favorite turn. She also spent the day trying to get me to take her Miata racing line through the "Octopus". On my last run I (almost) nailed it twice.

By the end of the day only one C6 in my class could catch me and go for a pass. I lapped a couple of cars and ran down a few others. The car was very stable in the turns and I was able to steer through many of the turns with the throttle. In the Octopus I was I was able to rotate the car with the throttle after a strong push on the brake. I felt like a hero. (in the beginner A class, lol.) But in the end I felt like it was as much or more the car as me.

All in all I am very happy with my BMR suspension mods and there will be more track days and the drags in my future.






Most BMWs were no problem for the BMR SS.


Here the Vette has the correct line. I missed this apex in the Octopus.

Future Plans:
  • Hawk HP Pads - (didn't do it)
  • 18" Lightweight Wheels with 275s all around (not this either)
  • Front bushings (a little bit of this)
  • Performace alignment (Nope)
  • More power (Yes!))
  • Buy 1LE (Yes!)
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Old 08-03-2011, 12:56 PM   #22
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The car is looking spectacular and your track day sounds like it was tons of fun.
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Old 08-03-2011, 01:07 PM   #23
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Funny - I sold my BMW 335i for the Camaro also ! Glad you are racing your car. How are the stock brake pads when you are racing? I have just been AutoXing but going to track in October and buying some new pads to have on hand at track in case I need them.
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Old 08-08-2011, 11:00 PM   #24
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BigFlow LT and High Flow Cat Install

I installed my BigFlow 1 7/8 LTs with high flow cats on my LS3 yesterday.



Mostly everything wet smoothly. I started this install by watching a video and reading every thread I could find on the topic. Everyone should start here:

http://www.planetlsx.com/tech/How_To...0_Camaro_SS/98

After looking through the list and later reading about broken spark plugs I decided to take mine out.

There are two problem areas: O2 removal and Oil dipstick replacement.

As for the O2s I ran my car for a few moments and then drove up on the ramps and then sprayed all the sensors. The key is I think is run the car long enough to get the exhaust warm, but not long enough for the heat to travel up to the O2 sensor. Then I used my O2 removal socket. I have removed O2 sensors before, these things make the job easy and helps prevent i think O2 damage.


As to Dipstick replacement I placed tap on the valve cover where the dipstick end comes up by the top of the engine and where the dipstick bends down. Then before I removed the dip stick I felt under the starter where the dipstick enters the pan. This prep with a friend feeding the dipstick down made replacement a 2 minute job.

PlanetLSX says the car must be at least 2 feet off the ground. Way over kill. I did my install with 10 inch high ramps. the only problem I had was removing the drivers side manifold and cats. I jacked up the car another 4 inches and the ugly thing slid right out. I also heard that one guy removed the cats from the manifolds and installed LTs with less than 10 inches of lift.

One PIA was the O2 Plugs. They have these little pins you have to pull out that you do not need to put back in later. The 2 rear ones pull out with a pair of pliers. But the 2 in the back of the cylinder heads have these little plastic strings you can use to pull the pins out. You would never be able to put these back in. The clips hold the plug in just fine. Plug the front O2 sensors back in from under the car. My LTs needed the plug extensions.

The rest of the install went smoothly except for one thing but took all day until the night. Many say it could be done in two hours. Not by me at least. I did have a friend helping me by taking out a few bolts, and assisting with the dipstick replacement, and initial header positioning.

I am not voiding my warranty by tuning my car just yet. So I installed rear O2 spacers to help prevent the dreaded CELs. No CELs so far after one day.


After all my preparation and taking my time I was shocked when after installing the tubes I realized my cats were not going to fit. I was told by the people who sold me the long tubes that they would bolt right up to my stock cutback. Not so, they are three inches too long!

I was not sure what to do next. Put everything back together and the manifolds back in? Leave the car on the ramps and see if I could find shorter cats? My friend said he had a sawmill. I decided ti bit the bullet and cut. I tightened down the headers for position and carefully measured and then bravely took a big saw to my car. It turned out there was just barely enough room to fit the cats before the first bend in the pipe. But I did get it to fit.


One last thing. The passenger side has very little room to work. You just need to be patient and keep trying different extensions and combinations. I used my 1/2 and 3/8 socket sets. Why are the manifold bolts 1/2 inch standard? Because I everything is so tight I tore up the insulation on the firewall removing those back bolts. Why is the insulation so flimsy? I also tore up the back of my hands.


The big cut was from my pit bull. I opened that up a few times during the install. She is a little too excitable sometimes.

So at 9 PM I took the car out for the first time with the LTs. I was exciting. Since I am using the stock catback it sound almost stock most of the time. But wan you ht 4-5 K it starts to wail. The sound is a ripping sound sort of high pitched and loud. The car now has sort of a Jekyll and Hyde character. I enjoy cruising and I like the quiet side of the car for that. and I really hate drone. The car has none.

I definitely feel more power. Now when I open it up in first gear the traction control light is on until I hit second. Fun! I plan to keep cloves of garlic on the rear view mirror to keep away the CELs. Wish me luck.

Edit: One CEL so far. Nothing to be afraid of.
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Old 08-09-2011, 04:13 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r1concepts View Post
The car is looking spectacular and your track day sounds like it was tons of fun.
Thanks! Some else who likes the clean look. You know, I was thinking of IOM stripes painted on. But still not sure.

Try a track day if you get a chance. I would have to say that was the best day I ever had I my SS.
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Old 08-09-2011, 04:18 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojave View Post
Funny - I sold my BMW 335i for the Camaro also ! Glad you are racing your car. How are the stock brake pads when you are racing? I have just been AutoXing but going to track in October and buying some new pads to have on hand at track in case I need them.
The pads held up well. The brakes stayed strong all day. But then I am no Ayrton Senna, yet.

I will go with the Hawk HP pads once my stockers wear a little more. Less brake dust and they will eliminate the roller skates so I can fit 18 inch wheels.
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:50 PM   #27
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Bringing the SS to my first car show ever. I did not think I would ever do this but it could be fun. So I decided to try spiffing things up a little.

I really like the engine without the cover, but then the cover is sort of like a blank canvas. I may have over done it.








Next orange bumble bee stripes. Vinyl prices have come way down.
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:36 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMR guy View Post
Sway Bars - As you continue to push your car you will get more comfortable with it. When you are ready to remove the understeer completely and neutralize the car all you have to do is put your rear bar on the stiffest hole (leave the front bar where it is). Our bars are designed so that when replaced together and using the same holes front-to-back, the overall roll stiffness is increased almost equally (slightly biased towards the rear). To effectively remove the understeer completely just stagger the mounting positions so that the rear bar is one setting stiffer than the front.

Alignment - You mentioned that you kept your alignment stock because "Street qualities are more important for me than track qualities". I can understand your thought process however a performance alignment will make a huge difference in how the car feels on the street or the track. If you set your car to our "Performance Street" alignment settings listed HERE, I can guarantee you the car will feel noticeably better and have very minimal impact on your streetability (slightly increased treadwear).

Just one other thing I noticed when looking at your pictures is that the rear sway bar is on upside down. The very slight bend on the outer lever arms mimics the OE curve and should face upwards. This will probably never be a problem on a stock height car but if you ever lower it, the bar can contact the subframe if you don't flip it over.
Today I decided flip the sway bars since my original install was upside down. Also I decided to tighten up the rear bar while I was under there. I used my race ramps and removing and installing the rear bar was easy with the ramps.









I drove around for a while and took a few curves. No more push! Now i will have to be careful exploring the limits of my SS the next time at the track. But the improved cornering feel is worth it.

Now I wonder. If i do later go to the same size tire front and rear would I go back to the middle sway bar setting?
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